Researchers have decoded one of the two remaining undeciphered Dead Sea Scrolls, revealing a unique 364-day calendar that references two festivals not mentioned in the Bible.
As you may recall, the Dead Sea Scrolls have been called the greatest archaeological find of the 20th century; they include fragments from every book of the Old Testament except for the Book of Esther as well as other religious writings dating back to the Second Temple era (530 BCE- 70 CE).
The newly discovered festivals are the Festival of New Wine and the Festival of New Oil, perhaps extensions of the Festival of Weeks (see 2 Chronicles 8:13).
To translate the scroll, researchers reassembled more than 60 tiny sections written in a secret code, a task that consumed more than one year.
While I’m not sure I have the patience for such a long and detailed process, I am highly intrigued by deciphering mysteries.
Maybe that’s why I wish it were easier for me to recognize God’s voice. Sometimes in life, I’m not sure if I’m hearing God’s voice or my own.
Perhaps you can relate. Recognizing God’s voice can seem as complicated as deciphering the words on an ancient scroll.
And it’s not just our voice we have to watch out for, sometimes another person’s voice can sound as good as God’s.
That’s why the apostle John warned:
“don’t always believe everything you hear just because someone says it is a message from God: test it first to see if it really is.” (1 John 4:1 LB)
One helpful tool I found for recognizing God’s voice comes from Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church. He suggests filtering what you think God is telling you by asking seven questions:
Does it agree with the Bible? God will not tell us something contrary to Scripture.
(See also Luke 21:33; Proverbs 12:19; Galatians 1:8)
Does it make me more like Christ? God doesn’t give us self-serving ideas.
(See also Philippians 2:5; 2 Corinthians 10:5; James 3:14-17)
Does my church family confirm it? Spiritually mature friends can help us verify God’s voice.
(See also Ephesians 3:10; Proverbs 11:9; 11:14)
Is it consistent with how God has shaped me? Our gifts and skills will help confirm God’s direction in our lives.
(See also Ephesians 2:10; Romans 12:6)
Does it concern my responsibility? We should listen for God’s message to us, not another person.
(See also John 21:22; Romans 14:4; Romans 14:10,13)
Does it convict rather than condemn? The Holy Spirit will identify a specific behavior that needs to change. By contrast, Satan will attack our value with messages like “you’re worthless.”
(See also Romans 8:1; Revelation 3:19; Revelation 12:10)
Do I sense God’s peace about it? Obeying God’s voice brings peace, not confusion, to our lives.
(See also 1 Corinthians 14:33; Philippians 4:6-7)
Only one of the 900 Dead Sea Scrolls remains undeciphered. While researchers work to decode the final scroll, let’s practice recognizing the voice of God in our everyday lives.
We can start today by opening God’s word where a treasure trove awaits.
Laura Lacey Johnson is a cutting-edge faith and culture writer who focuses on everyday headlines. In addition to speaking, she is a regular contributor to ChristianHeadlines.com and American Family Radio. To read Laura’s latest work on the headlines, visit www.lauralaceyjohnson.com, or to download your FREE copy of Why Jerusalem is Important to 3 World Religions, subscribe to her blog here.
Publication date: January 24, 2018